Inv. n°: MMoCA702

Roman Marble Ornamental Cinerary Urn

The finely decorated body of the vessel is carved in delicate shallow relief. The shoulder is decorated with garlanded ox skulls (bucrania); the main body is carved in two registers separated by a beaded relief border. The upper areas with floral motifs, palmettes, and confronting cranes either side of fruit laden altars; the lower with radiating tongues. The two separately carved handles depict horned and bearded satyr heads. The foot is fluted at the waist above a decorated panel. The strigilated lid is surmounted by floral decorations and a finial.

h. 48 x w. 40cm

1st century AD



  • Discovered in 1760 in Tenuta Santa Maria di Galera (Rome) a property belonging to the German College in Rome (the Vatican’s Collegio Germanico), When discovered, the vase contained a lamp, a gold chain, some ivory hairpins and cremated bones.
  • Collection of Sir Francis Dickins (c.1750 – 1833), He probably purchased it on his Grand Tour (1772-1773)
  • Collection of Sir Sydney Barratt (1898-1975), Summerhill (Staffordshire) and later installed at Crowe Hall (Bath, Avon), 1961, Sir Sydney Barratt, a distinguished chemist, industrialist and connoisseur, acquired the urn for ‘Summerhill’, a Georgian country house in Staffordshire. There his collection included Renaissance paintings as well as many exquisite bronzes and ceramic pieces. Later his collecting attentions turned to 18th century painting, furniture and antiques and by the time he moved to one of Bath’s finest Regency villas, Crowe Hall.
  • Thence by descent to John Barratt (1975-2010), Sir Sydney Barratt’s son, who lived at Crowe Hall until his death in 2010, preserved the house ‘as if in a time-capsule’. However, at some stage, perhaps after Sir Sydney Barratt’s death in 1975 the urn was adapted for electricity and spent the rest of its life at Crowe Hall in the central hallway with a lampshade over it.
  • Christie's London, The Baratt Collection, Sale 7821, 16th December 2010, lot 7
  • Acquired at Rupert Wace Ancient Art Ltd, 21st March 2011


  • Giovanni Batiste Piranesi, "Illustrated on a Plate Dedicated to Sir Francis Dickins", Vasi, candelabri, cippi, sarcofagi, tripodi, lucerne, ed ornamenti antichi, 1778
  • J. Wilton –Ely, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, The Complete Etchings, volume II, Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, 1994, p. 967, fig. 892
  • Christies London, The Barratt Collection, London, 2010-12-16, lot 7
  • "Gaudy Lamp Sells for £445,000 After Discovered to be Roman Urn", The Telegraph, 21st January 2011, [on-line] available at:
  • "Roman Urn Fetches £370,000 After Life as a Lamp", BBC News UK, 22nd January 2011, [on-line] available at:
  • "What's a Roman Urn? Around £445,000 - even When it's Been Turned Into a Lamp", Bath Chronicle, 24th January 2011, [on-line] available at:
  • S. Mackenzie, "A Lamp With a Past", Minerva: the International Review of Ancient Art & Archaeology, UK, March/April 2011, vol. XXII, p. 3
  • H. Mallalieu, "The Poetry of a Roman Urn", Country Life Magazine, UK, 13th April 2011, p. 86, fig. 1
  • Sir John Boardman, "Museum Opening of the Year", Apollo magazine, UK, December 2011, p. 59
  • J. Pollini, "Roman marble sculpture" in M. Merrony (ed.), Mougins Museum of Classical Art, France, 2011, p. 106, fig. 71
  • J. West, "Travel Outdoors - A Museum in Picasso’s Final Playground on the Hillsides Above the Cote d’Azur adds Culture to the Sunshine", Scotsman Magazine, Scotland, 17th November 2012, p. 32
  • "Private Collectors – The Lifeblood of the Fair: Christian Levett – a Museum of his Own", Celebrating the Best – 25 Years of TEFAF Maastricht, 2012, pp. 64-65
  • M. Godfrin-Guidicelli, "J’ai fait un rêve…", Zibeline, France, 23rd May – 20th June 2012, no. 52, p. 60
  • M. Merrony, Musée d’Art Classique de Mougins. La Collection Famille Levett, 2012, p. 54
  • Egypte Ancienne, May/June/July 2013, no. 8, p. 67
  • D. Alberge, "Art for All Collectors Who Want to Public Enjoy their Treasures", Ft Wealth, June 2016, no. 39, p. 25
  • L. Marotta, "The Medici of Mougins", Force One Magazine, 2017, no. 15, p. 38


  • TEFAF, Maastricht, Netherlands, 2011 — 2011
  • Musée d'Art Classique de Mougins (MACM), Mougins, France, from June 2011
  • Art Adorned: Christie’s x Dolce & Gabbana, Christie’s King Street, London, England, 22nd November 2019 — 3rd December 2019
  • Of Gods and Glamour, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA, July 2021 — April 2023

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